In an emotional farewell today, former Real Madrid captain and goal-keeper Iker Casillas bid goodbye to all the club fans at Santiago Bernabeu, the home-ground of the Los Blancos.
After spending 25 long years at the club, Casillas will join FC Porto this season. He joined the club at the age of nine and since then, have made 725 official appearances and won numerous accolades for the club, but now he is ready to write a new chapter with a club coached by former Spain and Real goalkeeper Julen Lopetegui.
Although Real Madrid have not yet signed any new goal-keeper in this transfer window and Iker still had two years left in his contract, Fiorentino Perez did not care to keep Casillas in the club. After the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti last month, once again it raises questions over Perez’s decisions and policies. However, while holding the press conference in an attempt to bid a final goodbye to the club, Casillas did not talk at all about Perez and his policies.
Casillas, who was surprisingly not accompanied by any Real Madrid officials at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Sunday, broke down in tears as he attempted to read a prepared statement to the media and was applauded by those in attendance.
After taking a deep breath, he started: “First of all, thanks to everyone for coming here and for supporting me at this special time. I have come to this great stadium to say goodbye to everyone, and especially to all the Madridistas.
“Since yesterday I am no longer a Real Madrid player and I will now go to FC Porto. My decision to go to FC Porto was based on two factors — the enthusiasm that their club president, coach — who I know well — and the staff have transmitted to me.
“Secondly, the affection that I have received when people found out that my destination would be Portugal.
“I will do all I can not to let them down and I will try to win as many titles as possible with them. Thank you, FC Porto, for trusting me.”
Later, Casillas talked about his journey in the club since he was only a boy of nine.
“After 25 years defending the emblem of the biggest club in the world, this is one of the hardest days of my life,” he said. “It feels like it was only yesterday when at the age of nine I wore for the first time Real’s jersey and my dream came true.
“During this time we have enjoyed ourselves, shed tears, happiness, laughter, I have felt loved. This club has not only taught me to be a sportsmen but also taught me human values, being, those of respect, camaraderie and humility.
“I have always tried to show all of them wherever I went. I want to acknowledge all of my former and current teammates — I leave a lot of friends behind me and I know that I will be always be able to count on them.
“I want to thank all of my coaches throughout my career, all of them. I have learned a lot from all of them.”
Casillas did not field any questions from the media after his statement and did not reveal any details of his contract with Porto, though it has been reported he will join them on a two-year deal with an option to extend it a further season.
“All my love to my family, who made sacrifices for me to pursue this hard but rewarding career,” Casillas said. “Also to my wife and my child, because they will always be there next to me.”
You may also like: Ronaldo can move to MLS in a few years